Compensatory growth is rapid growth following a period of nutrient deprivation. It is used as a tool by cattle growers to increase growth rates before slaughter. It is also seen in humans, particularly before full stature is reached following a period of food insuffciency, and it is often called “catch-up” growth. We are obviously not cattle, and I would assume most readers have already passed puberty, but there is still science behind this strategy that can make new gains, even for adults.
The key to making this work is strategically manipulating protein intake. Carbs can also be cycled in somewhat, but the most drastic change throughout the cycle will involve protein. This strategy actually arose from controversy in protein-intake studies. The results from these studies and those focusing on strength training are all over the map. The majority show a significant positive effect from increasing protein intake. Nevertheless, to date there is still no consensus about the value or effectiveness of increasing protein intake. We won’t go into all the reasons why one study might show athletes need more protein and others don’t, but we will focus on one critical factor that has become apparent when looking at these studies; it’s called protein change theory.
So here’s the plan: For four weeks, drop your protein intake to .8 grams per kg of bodyweight. Starting the fifth week, bump it up to 2.2 grams per kg of bodyweight (i.e., 1 gram per pound). Keep it high for at least six weeks. Carbs can stay relatively the same throughout or be increased slightly with the increase in protein. Training, like carbs, should remain relatively constant throughout the cycle but may bumped up a notch in volume when protein is high. Give this a shot and see if you don’t put on some new muscle. - FLEX